July 8, 2020, SEOUL, Korea — The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) welcomed the First Lady of South Korea, Madame Kim Jung-sook, to IVI headquarters today to address the importance of global solidarity in the face of global health challenges.
This event, held under the name “Shared Future, Global Solidarity: Vaccines Save Lives,” brought together 23 foreign diplomats in Korea, as well as the Minister for Health and Welfare, Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Director of the Korea National Institute of Health, and members of the Korea Support Committee for IVI and the vaccine industry.
First Lady Kim Jung-sook urged the diplomatic community to garner support for IVI from their home countries, emphasizing the need for multilateral cooperation and partnership in a global pandemic that affects every country in the world.
“IVI has made important contributions to global health through partnerships including the world’s first low-cost OCV, and an innovative candidate vaccine against typhoid. This is the power of solidarity and cooperation,” said First Lady Madame Kim Jung-sook. “Together, I am confident IVI and the international community will come up with critical solutions to global health threats, including the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In her congratulatory remarks, the First Lady recognized IVI’s historic and recent achievements, noting the institute’s role in developing the world’s most widely used oral cholera vaccine and, more recently, IVI’s range of collaborations to accelerate a vaccine solution for the COVID-19 pandemic. IVI’s contributions to global health, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), are made possible by government and industry partnerships, and the First Lady expressed her hope that such collaboration will also bring much needed relief to the pandemic.
“The unprecedented speed at which 17 COVID-19 vaccine candidates entered human clinical trials was due in large part to multilateral commitments to support research and innovation. To bring an end to the pandemic, we will need the same global cooperation and equity-informed approach to vaccine distribution,” said Jerome Kim, Director General of IVI.
In presenting IVI’s work to the First Lady, Dr. Kim touched on the institute’s past, present and future work on vaccines for global health, including development and tech transfer of the world’s first affordable oral cholera vaccine, stockpiled by the WHO and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; OCV vaccination projects to be conducted in Mozambique and Nepal with support from KOICA’s Global Disease Eradication Fund from this year, which builds on a previous OCV vaccination project in Mozambique; late-stage clinical trials for a novel typhoid conjugate vaccine with the goal of WHO-prequalification by 2022; a new IVI-led global consortium to accelerate development of a Chikungunya vaccine; and currently, multiple efforts to boost future supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
Looking ahead, Dr. Kim shared First Lady Kim’s sentiments that the path to a healthier future for all must be a collective one. He emphasized the importance of ensuring no country gets left out of safe and effective vaccines during a global pandemic, as well as the critical need for more attention and investment in developing vaccines against poverty-associated infectious diseases.
To close the event, the First Lady accepted a new appointment as the Honorary President of IVI’s Support Committee. In this role, Madame Kim will advocate for IVI’s mission to discover, develop, and deliver vaccines for infectious diseases that primarily affect LMICs, and encourage solidarity and cooperation in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and making vaccines accessible to all without borders.
About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a nonprofit inter-governmental organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, IVI was the first international organization hosted by Korea. IVI has 35 signatory countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) on its treaty, including Korea, Sweden and India as state funders.
Our mandate is to make vaccines available and accessible for the world’s most vulnerable people. We focus on infectious diseases of global health importance such as cholera, typhoid, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, Group A Strep, Hepatitis A, HPV, TB, HIV, MERS, COVID-19, as well as antimicrobial resistance. For more information, please visit https://www.ivi.int
Aerie Em, Global Communications & Media Specialist
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